Businessman | Movie Review

Mahesh and Puri!! Their last film broke Telugu movie records, and you expect this one to be a bigger and better movie. But due to my recent experiences, I went to watch without any expectations, and at the end of the film I walked out quite satisfied. The movie makes no sense, has no story or nothing, but thanks to the brilliant acting by Mahesh, and pretty good dialogues by Puri, Businessman is a decent watch.

Filming for the first time without his favorite actors Ali or Brahmanandam, Puri Jagannadh makes Businessman without a comedy track. Thanks to the slick screenplay, you never notice the lack of comedy though. There are highs and lows, but overall, it works. Might not be as big a hit as Pokiri, and might not run in multiplexes, but is sure to run houseful in B and C centers.

Watch it only for Mahesh and Puri. If you like neither of them, still go watch it!

(Actually, after second watch, I have a feeling it will break Pokiri’s records very easily)

Verdict: 7.5/10 + 0.5 for Mahesh!!

For a detailed review, read on…

Plot
The movie kicks off with the police commissioner (Nassar) declaring Mumbai to be a Mafia-free zone. Surya (Mahesh Babu) lands in the city with the intentions of becoming a don, and in his own words, to make Mumbai  beep. He takes the local goons, and the local minister Lalu (Sayaji Shinde) under his control. He makes the commissioner’s daughter Chitra (Kajal Aggarwal) fall in love with him, and later falls for her himself. The rest of the film (not story) is about Surya’s real intentions and how he turns mafia into a business.

Actors Performance
Mahes Babu is terrific as Surya. He looks uber cool and dashing. He has his way with the dialogues, and thanks to Puri, he mouths some terrific stuff. His expressions, intensity and antics are really good, and I loved his acting in the climax episode. He does create some humor (only humor in the film) as well. But I really feel that he needs to try something different from these kinds flicks. He’s one of the better actors in the industry today, and I believe that he has more potential than this.

Kajal looks great, but when it comes to acting, she sucks. But trust me, she’s way better than rest of the Telugu heroines. Nassar is really good in the role of the commissioner. Other than him, no one has any major role. Prakash Raj, Subbaraju, Sayaji Shinde are all alright. Dharmavarapu tries to create some laughter, and is ok. The girl who played Kajal’s friend (Ayesha) was really really annoying the first time around, but you kinda get used to her.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
Puri Jagannadh thanked Ramgopal Varma at the start of the film for helping him come up with the idea of Businessman. For a second there, I thought I was gonna walk out with a headache. But thankfully, Puri just uses RGV’s style of movie making. There is honestly no story to the movie, but he has a concept, and he uses it for two and half hours. Thanks to the amazingly scripted dialogues, the concept, or rather the film works. Since there is no story, the screenplay needed to be effective, and Puri makes sure that its crisp. Every scene is effectively planned, and very well shot. There was not a single boring moment in the film. The climax was a little too weak and predictive though. Direction is pretty decent. He makes Mahesh look really really good.

Other Departments
Music by Taman is good. He’s copied tunes from various films, yes, but they still work. After a really long time, I loved the theme music of a Telugu film. ‘Bhag Saale’ is impressive. The re-recording and sound effects are very good. Cinematography by Shyam K. Naidu is alright. The close up shots were canned well.  Editing by S. R. Shekhar is perfect.  Choreography by Dinesh is mediocre, and could have been way better. Production values by R.R. Movie Makers are good.

My only problem with the movie was the censoring. I mean, since when did cleavages or bikini shots get blurred in a movie?? Forget cleavages, even the thigh of the item girl was blurred. Same thing with the dialogues. When the movie is given ‘A’ rating, I don’t see a point for the censor board in being so harsh. Not that I want to see stuff or hear shitty dialogues, but hope that it doesn’t become a trend.

Oosaravelli | Movie Review

Plot
Oh boy, this is gonna be tough. Tony (NTR) and Niharika (Tamanna) are kidnapped by terrorists in Kashmir. They somehow manage to escape from there. Tony follows Niharika to Hyderabad, and makes her fall in love with him. At the same time, he is also plotting to destroy a gang of goons. The rest of the story deals with establishing why he is after the goons, and how Niharika is involved in all of this.

Artists Performance
NTR is good in the lead role. As the tittle suggest, he is a Chameleon in the movie, in all aspects. He is brilliant in few scenes, and sucked in a few others. You think that he’s looking good for a second, and immediately there is a fatso in the next frame. He looked terrible in the last song. But otherwise, he was pretty decent. His comic timing was good, and he was pretty much the only one to provide laughter in the movie. His dances for ‘Dandiya’ song are really good. It would be great if he could lose some weight and maintain his figure (sheesh, never thought I would say that for a guy!!).

Tamanna has a very very good role in the movie, and is excellent. She should be really thankful to have bagged such a meaty role in a Telugu movie. She was actually brilliant in few scenes, especially the flashback episode. She looked gorgeous in the songs.

Prakash Raj has a relatively small role, but is excellent. Jaya Prakash Reddy was really good, and so was Raghu Babu. Vidyut Jammwal (Force fame) was absolutely wasted. The girl who played Tamanna’s freind, Payal Ghosh, was good. The rest of the cast was alright.

Story-Screenplay-Direction
It was one hell of a story by Vakkantham Vamsi. It in itself was a Chameleon. It apparently is inspired from a Chinese movie ‘Vengence’. The first half of the movie made no absolute sense. It was only in the second half that the motive was established. The problem is that the motive aint strong enough. As mentioned, its a story which changes colors. A small girl sitting in the next seat couldnt make head or tail of the movie. But even though it looks so complicated, it is actually not. Its the screenplay which makes it look so. Director Surender Reddy did a decent job. Only glitch was that he tried to hold the main plot till almost the end of the movie, which made the audience feel uncomfortable, as they (me included) couldnt understand the motives behind what was happening. But otherwise, the screenplay and direction were alright. Unlike Dookudu, the movie didnt have much comedy, but makes it up with a better story line.

Other Departements
Music by Devi Sri Prasad is good. I loved the first track of the movie ‘Brathakali’. The background score, especially the theme bg score is excellent. Dialogues by Koritala Shiva are pretty neat. There were a number of words which made the cut during sensor, which was a little irritating. The climax set work (Art by Ravinder) looked really fake. Otherwise, it was pretty decent. Fights by Ram-Laxman are decent. If you thought that Dookudu was shot beautifully, watch Oosaravelli, cos the camera work by Rasool Ellore is absolutely brilliant. Graphics by Cgtrix are of top notch quality.  My friend who works for them just happened to mention that they they really had to work hard for this movie, and it shows on screen. Production values by BVSN Prasad are good.Thought he didnt spend a lot, he made sure to mint money by releasing the movie in record number of theaters.

Verdict
Its one hell of a movie. Whether you take it positively or negatively is your choice. It was a different film, alright, but could have been dealt with in a much better way, A strong motive in the flashback episode would have done wonders to the film. Its good to see a heroine oriented film in Telugu. Though its all and out NTR film, the narrative is based on Tamanna’s character. Plus points are NTR (not the fatso), Tamanna, good music and excellent cinematography. Though the movie was long, it dint feel long. On the downside is the complicated looking screenplay. Its a pretty decent watch, but everything depends on how audience reacts to such different story line. In my opinion, it is better than Dookudu (by a wafer thin margin), but am sure not all of you would agree with me.

Verdict: 7/10

Dookudu | Movie Review

Plot
Shankar Narayan (Prakash Raj) is a responsible political leader, who wants his son Ajay to follow his footsteps and become a politician in the future. Shankar is hurt in an accident and goes into coma. Ajay (Mahesh Babu) grows up to instead be a police officer, and is put in charge to track down a mafia don Nayak (Sonu Sood). Shankar recovers from his coma after 14 years, and to satisfy his father’s wishes, Ajay dons the role of a MLA. The rest of the story is about how Ajay hunts for Nayak, and takes revenge on the people responsible for his father’s accident.

Artists Performance
It’s a tailor made role for Mahesh Babu. He is absolutely brilliant in the movie. He looks dashing all throughout and I loved his styling (I believe he is one of the best dressed actors in the industry). I thought his dialogue delivery was a little awkward in few scenes, especially the use of Telangana dialect. Having said that he was brilliant, I feel that he could have done much better in senti scenes. Probably because of his films being dubbed into Hindi by Salman, he used a number of punch dialogues.

Bramhanandam and M.S. Narayana have better roles and more screen time than Samantha. They are outstanding in their respective characters. Bramhanadam once again proves his mettle. His portrayal in the scenes where Mahesh describes the requirements for the reality show, and where he talks to Nagarjuna over the pen cam is terrific. M. S. Narayan entertains us with his show reel.
Samantha is alright as the female lead. There is no proper characterization to her role, and had less than 30 minutes of screen time on the whole. I believe Samantha suffers from the same problem as Vidya Balan and Kamalini Mukherjee; after essaying a beautiful, deglamorized roles in their first movies, it is quite difficult to accept them flirting and romancing with the hero. It looked quite odd. She also looked very lean.
The rest of the cast was alright. Sonu Soon had a different get up and was good. I felt that Prakash Raj’s character went a little over board. Bharani, Chandra Mohan, Suman, Nazer, Naga Babu, Ajay, Subbu Raju, Bharat, Sayaji Shinde, Kota, Dharmavarapu, Shafi, Vennela Kishore, Sonia, Parvati Melton, and the list goes on – this movie had them all. It was like watching a mini Maya Bazaar.

 

Story-Screenplay-Direction
In the first ten minutes, I thought the screenplay was running really fast. At the end of the three-hour long moving, I realized why Srinu Vytla was rushing through the movie. It’s because he tried to infuse so many stories into one film. Funnily, the stories he tries to infuse are all from his old movies. It was like watching all his movies together, right from Anandam to Namo Venkatesa. Senti scenes, family bonding, comedy bits, marriage song, we’ve seen them all before. But luckily, it works for most of the while. He also inserted a number of unnecessary concepts which made the movie lose its steam in between. Though there is absolutely no freshness in the story line, the strong cast helps him hold the movie together.

I have a lot of qualms regarding the story, but since it’s a Telugu film, won’t complaint much. Most noticeable was the lack of chemistry between Samantha and Mahesh. Except for the first few scenes after they first meet, there is not much happening around them. Also, Sonu Sood, who is shown as a big time scary don, seems to lose his steam towards the end. Him running away from Mahesh in the climax fight made no sense.
The screenplay, as mentioned, though rush in the beginning was fine toward the end. Direction was good in parts. Srinu Vytla’s plus point is his ability to create humor without trying much, and he was able to do that through most of the movie.
Other Departments
Music by Thaman is average. Except for the title song, none of them had any impact. Background score was good in parts. Though the punch dialogues lacked punch, dialogues by Kona Venkat are really good. Editing by Varma could have been better. A number of scenes should have made the cut. Cinematography by Guhan and Prasad Murella is absolutely brilliant.  Thanks to them, people dint notice that Mumbai’s police commissioner had his office on top of a multi storied building. The shots in Istanbul, and for one of the songs in US are really good. The graphics could have been much better. Producers Ram Achanta, Gopichand Achanta and Anil Sunkara spent a lot of money and it was visible. They had most of the Telugu industry cast in the movie.
Analysis
It was a boring, draggy, potpourri of movies which would never end. But still, it had its brilliant moments which makes the movie work. More than being a Mahesh’s film, it had Srinu Vytla written all over it. Mahesh just helped it reach the pinnacle. Bramhanadam and M. S. Naryana’s video clips shall be on almost everyone’s facebook pages in the near future. Actually, its not Mahesh, but them who make the movie reach its pinnacle. Better editing and screenplay could have helped. On the whole, a decent film. Could have been much better, but with the recent dearth of good Telugu films, this movie is something most of us can feast on (count me out!!).

Verdict: 7/10

Urumi | Movie Review

Urumi
Plot
Krishna Das (Prithviraj) owns ancestral property in Kerala, which he about to sell to a multi-national mining corporation, without realizing the history and heritage of the land. To make him realize its importance, Thandachan (Arya), chief of the forest area, narrates the story of Kelu (Prithviraj), Vavvali (Prabhu Deva) and Ayesha (Genelia D’Souza), on how they fought against the tyrant Portuguese in the 16th century. Kelu’s fight against Vasco Da Gama forms the basic story line of the movie.
 
Artists Performance
It’s been a long time since I saw a movie with so many top-notch actors (reminded me of Mayabazaar). Prithviraj, as the main lead was good. Though his body was well toned, I thought he looked a bit bulky. Prabhu Deva was excellent as Kelu’s sidekick. He provides the only laughs in the movie. I never really realized how beautiful Genelia is until I watched this movie. She looked absolutely gorgeous. Her character though was a very inconsistent. She is angry at Kelu for destroying her kingdom, but at the same time falls in love with him (all in the same scene). Nitya Menen and Vidya Balan have very short roles and are adequate (We get a glimpse of Vidya Balan’s “Dirty Picture” in one song). Jagathy Sreekumar is superb as the prime minister. His is the best performance of the movie. He is rivalled only by Amol Gupte, who is excellent in his role as the helpless king. Tabu and Arya have guest appearances (Tabu looked old!)
 
Story-Screenplay-Direction
Santosh Sivan happens to be a very talented cinematographer, period. But his choice of films as a director has always been strange. After delivering a period dud like Asoka in 2001, he once again tried to create something similar, but this time on a much larger scale with a bigger ensemble of cast. And to his credit, does a good job this time around. But it is the story by Shankar Ramakrishnan which disappoints. For starters, he tried to relate historical characters with current generation, which I thought was absolutely unnecessary. The mining corporation wanting to buy the land, the NGO, etc were totally unnecessary and helped the story in no way. He should have stuck with the 16th century to develop a much better script. Also, being a movie about Kerala, it seemed like a lot of the story line was edited for the Telugu version, which made the screenplay horrible. Few scenes ended so abruptly that they made no sense.
 
Other Departments
Music by Deepak Dev is really good for the songs. But when it comes to the background music, he rips off tunes from Pirates of the Caribbean and Gladiator. Something more original would have done better justice to the movie. For a dubbed movie, the lyrics happened to be really good. My favourites were “Chinni Chinni” and “Neevevaro”. The later was brilliantly picturized. Editing by Sreekar Prasad was fine. Being a Santosh Sivan film, it is supposed to be visually extravagant, and he does not disappoint.
 
Analysis
Now I understand why they don’t usually dub Malayalam movies into Telugu. Forget lip-sync, it was as if I was watching a Japanese dubbing movie initially. I heard really good reviews about the film from my Mallu friends and therefore decided to give Urumi a try. But I was actually disappointed. Having such a great ensemble of cast, Santosh Sivan could have made a much better movie. But lack of punch in the script, at least for the Telugu audience, is a big let-down. Great cinematography, good acting, but half-baked script and untidy screenplay thwart my expectations. There is absolutely no entertainment in the movie (It was like watching a story from my history book). I would have preferred watching the Mallu version rather than spending 150 bucks on this. I suggest you do what I dint!
 
Verdict: 6.5/10

Kanchana | Movie Review

It is impossible for me to write a detailed review on Kanchana. I already wasted 3 hours of my precious time watching it.
 
A thriller which was comical, wherein every actor overacts, a message oriented movie which makes no impact on the audience. With its concept, the film could have been much much better with a better script. Direction was horrible, screenplay and cinematography average, music mediocre.
 
Overall, a disappointment!
 
Verdict: 3.5/10

Nanna | Movie Review

Plot
Krishna (Vikram) is a mentally challenged guy working in a chocolate factory at Ooty. His wife expires while giving birth to their child Vennela (Sarah). Krishna and Vennala share a very close father-daughter relationship with both taking care of each other. Vennela is taken away by her grandfather when she is 5. Anuradha (Anushka) is a lawyer who helps fight the case for Krishna, and this forms rest of the story.
 
Actors Performance
After Kamal Haasan, if there is anyone else who can play such a challenging role, its Vikram. He is exceptionally good playing the mentally challenged father. He expressed a lot using his eyes for most of the movie. He should be really appreciated for taking up such a role. The showstopper though, was baby Sarah. She was brilliant as the daughter and even overshadowed Vikram in certain scenes. However, the screen presence of both Vikram and baby Sarah is minimal during the second half of the movie. Anushka is good as the lawyer, but I felt something lack in her performance. She was looking really good though. Amala Paul has a minor role and was adequate. Naseer has a meaty role and was good. The guy who played Anushka’s assistant was really good.
 
Story-Screenplay-Direction
Its a simple story about the relationship between a mentally challenged father and a doting daughter, and the consequences when they are separated. Director Vijay, who also provided story and screenplay, had a good story at hand with and ensemble of really good artists, but was unable to deliver a complete package. While the first half of the movie was to establish the father daughter relationship, he tried to infuse unnecessary scenes and create humor. Krishna’s friend doubting his wife for helping Krishna with Vennala seemed absurd. He did not make use of the main performers of the film by limiting screen space for both Vikram and baby Sarah in the second half. It seemed more of Anushka’s film post interval. Also, there seemed to be quite a few loopholes in the script. However, he could generate awesome stuff from little Sarah. The screenplay seemed alright, but nothing great.
 
Other Departments
Music by G. V. Prakash Kumar is alright. Lyrics by Anantha Sriram are mediocre. I could not make sense of even one song in full. Dialogues by Shashak Vennelakanti are ok. Cinematography by Nirav Shah is really good. Its not an expensive film, and the producers made sure to get things right.
 
Analysis
Its a movie to be watched for Vikram and baby Sarah. Both of them are surely gonna top the highest awarding honors for the film. Sadly, there is not a strong story to hold up their awesome performance. A better script could have made Nanna create wonders at box office. Also, there is a lot of Tamil nativity in the film (no offence to my Tamil friends). Overall, Nanna is a decent film and can be watched for its performances.
 
Verdict: 7/10
 
PS: I went for the movie along with my cousin, and we had quite an experience. We had tickets for Sunday’s show and thought it was for Saturday, realized it almost 30 mins into the movie. Luckily we found exactly 2 empty seats in the packed theatre. Once in a life time experience I say.